From the Desk of Marshal Rogers
Welcome to the second edition of our newsletter for the T1 and T2 products in Washington. The previous eleven months have brought many changes for the staff here in Lincoln, NE but they have responded well and we continue to move forward. As many of you know the TerraScan name was phased out in favor of our new global identity with the Thomson Reuters brand and we also completed our office move. Our new location is on the corner of 70th and O St in Lincoln and we definitely feel at home now. Please feel free to stop by our offices for a visit anytime you are in the Lincoln area.
In addition to all the changes going on with our name and physical location we have been working to increase our level of communication with our customers. Many of you have already signed up for our Connexion’s website and receive updates from us via this site so you can attest to its ease of use. In addition to the website we will also be transitioning our staff to new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that will allow for better issue tracking and more transparency in the process. Please watch your inboxes for our official announcement in the next few months.
If you have any questions about what is going on with the T1 or T2 products and our support staff here in Lincoln please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I am always interested in getting feedback about our service levels and suggestions for improvements.
Thank you for your business,
Operations Manager, Tax & Accounting, Government
T1 Windows 7 Issues
Several counties have installed new computer workstations with Window 7 and are having issues getting their connection to the server set to 256 or Low 8 bit colors since it’s not an available option. If your color settings are not set to 256 or Low 8 bit, sketch images will not save properly. Here are the steps needed to easily fix this issue.
Start on your local computer.
Save the RDP connection to the sever somewhere. Your desktop, a folder, doesn’t matter as long as you can easily access it.
Open the .RDP file in Notepad by dragging the file into an open Notepad document, or right-click and select Open With, Notepad.
The line “session bpp:i:15” (typically the forth line) controls the color settings for the connection. Edit this line to read “session bpp:i:8” and save the file. Make sure that Notepad does not add a .TXT extension to the file when it saves.
This will not show the 256 color option in the Display tab, but when used to connect it will use the 256 color settings and allow sketches to save properly.
NE T1 Assessor Location and Valuation Group Codes
The Assessor Location and Valuation Group code fields are on the 2nd page of the ATR. You must first populate the code tables before you assign codes to records. To populate the tables go to Table Maintenance / County Information Table / Assessor Location Table or Valuation Grouping Table. Here you can create codes with descriptions. You can create as many as your county needs. Once you have created your codes access your ATR. You can edit records individually and press Alt F5 to receive a pop up menu to select your code. If you already know which code you want to assign you can type in the code. The description will automatically populate. Alternatively, you can assign codes in mass by creating indexes and performing replace commands. Because the nature of a replace command being sensitive, please contact Support for assistance should you be interested in this option.
Once you have assigned codes to either of these fields the information will automatically be on the 2nd page of the Sales file when you create a new sale. This information will not update for pre-existing sales and replace commands will need to be performed in order to populate these fields. If this is something your county is interested in please contact Support. Please be sure that you have already created your codes so that you are prepared.
T1 – Using Templates in Sketch
Did you know that you can create templates in the T1 Sketch program? Templates are a great way to save time when sketching neighborhoods that have similar housing layouts. Not only is it easy to create a template, it is also easy to edit them to fit your needs should a house have additional or fewer improvements.
To create a template first go into the Sketch program. Create your sketch including the house and any improvements that are standard in that area (ie garages, car ports, wood decks). After you have finished your sketch go to File / Template / Save As and enter a name for the template. This could be the name of the construction company, the type of house design, a neighborhood, anything that you will be able to know what type of house the template is for. When you go to the next parcel that has that same house layout go into the Sketch program and File / Template / Open. The templates box will display with a drop down list to select your template and the Ok button to apply it to the sketch.
If you need to make any adjustments such as moving a deck to the other side of the house, select that section either by clicking on the section to highlight it or cycling through the objects by use of the left and right arrow buttons. Once the object is selected choose the move button (the button with a building and a downward pointing red arrow) and move it to the desired location.
You can create as many templates as you like and make changes and resave them. You can also remove templates if they are no longer needed. If you apply a template to a pre-existing sketch it will clear the sketch before applying the template. For more information about available options in the Sketch program please contact Support.
T1 – On-Screen Fund Balance
The on-screen fund balance report allows the user to see what the balance of a fund was at a given date. This functionality may come in handy in your yearend review and your preparations for any adjustments that may be required for the new tax year.
Running On Screen Fund Balance
- Select Budgetary Accounting, Budgetary Reports, On-Screen Fund Balance.
- The user will then be asked to enter the fund and date to calculate the balance.
- The user will be asked if the fund and date entered is the information they want.
- The system will then calculate the balance which could take some time depending on the server and the number of records in the general ledger file. The system will display the fund balance based on the accounts that have been posted to the general ledger.
T1 – Receivables Adjustment
The receivables adjustment file allows the user to enter and post transactions that modify the receivables report. In WA one of the most common reasons to have this transaction is the transfer of state-school funds to current expense after the fifth year.
View the Receivable Adjustment Process here.
T2 Owner Receipting – How is the “Paid By” name selected?
In Owner Receipting, when a Tender Type is selected, the “Paid By” will default to the first owner that was added to the form, unless that name has been removed from the form. The first owner name added will be selected as the “Paid By” even if the statements for that owner have been unselected. If an owner has been accidentally added to the form and none of the statements for that owner are actually going to be paid, it would be best to remove that owner from the form rather than just unselecting that owner’s statements. Any time there are multiple owners on the form, you should verify that the “Paid By” is the correct name prior to saving the receipts.
If you do find that the “Paid By” is not the name you intended, you can change it in Receipt Management up until the receipt is posted. The other Payee Details (address and any comments added) can also be changed prior to posting by clicking on the Payee Details icon in Receipt Management.
T2 Data Access
One of the common needs of our clients is to get data out of the T2 database for use in other programs. This may be for the GIS department to use in creating maps or exports for printing statements. To allow for these other uses, we have created a database T2Query that can be accessed outside the T2 application. There are many ways to access this data, but the most common method is using Excel to create a spreadsheet with the information. There are instructions for this process on the Connexions website documents and downloads area.
What is Connexion and Why Would I Join It?
I get invitations to join email list from groups and organizations frequently. Sometimes I join and discover I get spammed with a ton of emails on topics I don’t really care about. Other times I don’t join and will miss some event or activity only to be told by a friend, “aren’t you on the email list.” It seems like a darned if you do darned if you don’t scenario.
Connexion is different. You decide what forums(groups) or topics (conversations) that you want to subscribe(follow). When you are subscribed to a forum or topic you will only get emails if something is posted. If you decide that you don’t want to get emails anymore you have the option to unsubscribe at anytime to stop following a forum or topic.
That’s all great, but is there anything really useful for you on connexion? In addition to be a major location where training schedules and links will be posted, connexion is the hotbed of information for all things Terrascan and TerrascanT2. We post information about known bugs and work around. Release notes are posted there. And it has contact information for support.
As a user you can respond to a topic or start a new one. You get to see and participate in the discussion. Even if you don’t post or follow a topic, having the link as a favorite in your browser and checking the forms can be a great way to stay informed of things happening in the application.
If you haven’t signed up yet visit http://connexion.manatron.com to join. Then look for TerraScan under the CAMA or Tax menu and plug in to the future of your TerraScan support with Thomson Reuters.
T2’s Sale and Ratio Study, Appraisal Year, and Other Query Views Expose a Wealth of Data Types
In some instances, you may wish to work with data from one QV together with data that is only available in another.
To accomplish this:
- Use the appropriate QV to isolate down the desired parcel set
- Export all data to Excel, and save this Excel worksheet
- Now, switch to the QV that includes the remaining data you wish to work with
- Export All to Excel
- Select All and copy to Sheet2 of the worksheet created in Step 2 above
- In each of Sheet1 and Sheet2, cut/paste the Parcel Number column into Column A if it is not already there
- Observe how many rows and columns of data exist in Sheet2
- Observe in which column (assuming Column A is the first column) the data you wish to add to Sheet 1 is located in. For example, assume Sheet 2 has 127 rows of data, , includes data through column W, Parcel Number is in Column A, and the data you wish to use is located in the 17th column.
- Enter the following formula in row 2 of the first available blank column at the right of Sheet 1: =VLOOKUP(A2,Sheet2!$A$2:$W$127,17,FALSE)
You should see the desired value from Sheet2 you wanted to use together with the data in Sheet1 appear in this first row.
- You can then simply copy this formula down to all remaining rows in Sheet1, and you’ll have the data you wished to work with. You’ll need to play with this a few times to get the hang of it.
In the example above, you are using the Parcel Number as the common record link (the Key ID to link) between the two data sets, looking up vertically the parcel number in Sheet 2 that coincides with the parcel number from Sheet1, and grabbing the desired data.
Excel itself and the Internet have numerous simple tutorials to fill in the blanks.
Sally Catlin in Grant County has very recently incorporated this tool into her ratio study work.
Take a look, give it a try, and you’re on your way!
T2 – Layout vs. Snapshot
The T2 application currently has 2 querying tools that can very easily be confused with one another, the Snapshots and Layouts tools. The easiest way to remember the difference between these two tools is to keep in mind that a Snapshot is a list of records, whereas a Layout is a save of the filter information used in the query. Furthermore, Snapshots are used elsewhere in the application (such as mass recalculation tools and reports) but Layouts are not (as layouts are not a record set). Which tool to use will depend on the circumstance of why the records are being queried.
If, for instance, parcels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are the only parcels in neighborhood “10”, and you create a Snapshot of these records (filtering on Neighborhood = “10”), whenever said snapshot is used it will always bring back parcels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. However, if you were to create a Layout (again, filtering on Neighborhood = “10”) using said Layout would bring back ALL records currently in the Neighborhood “10” every time. This would even include if parcel 6 were changed to Neighborhood “10” (after the creation of both Snapshot and Layout). Running the Snapshot would only bring back parcels 1 – 5, but using the Layout would return parcels 1 – 6. This is due the fact that Snapshots are lists of records at the time of their creation, and at the time the Snapshot was created, only parcels 1 – 5 were in Neighborhood “10”.
Joseph Anderson – Lead Applications Support Analyst
Joseph Anderson has worked with TerraScan for over five years providing technical support for issues involving the T2 software for the state of Washington, with particular focus on the Assessment and CAMA areas of the application. Joe spends roughly 70 hours each when on the computer.
His favorite book isThe House of Leaveswritten by Mark Z. Danielewski as it changed his perspective of how fiction can be written and enjoyed. When he is not hard at work assisting clients he enjoys photographing nature, particularly weather events such as thunderstorms. Soon he’ll be enjoying taking pictures of he and his wife’s first baby coming in May!